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OPINION: Did the first presidential debate tell us anything we didn’t already know?

Thomas Knapp

Joe Biden and Donald Trump are both old men. We already knew that.

Neither’s brain can be honestly characterized as hitting on all the key cognitive cylinders. We already knew that.

They’re both compulsive liars. We already knew that.

Did listening to the two geezers argue about their golf handicaps in CNN’s June 27 “presidential debate” tell us anything we didn’t already know about them? Nah.

On the particular night in question, Biden came off as more dazed/confused and Trump as more fever-dreamy/hallucinatory but in any given week we can expect each of them to display characteristics of both mental status sets.

They’re both decrepit. They’re both deranged. They’re both demented. They’re both dishonest. Neither adds up (or seems to have ever previously added up) to much beyond the sum of those characteristics.

Even if someone, anyone, could plausibly be “qualified” to “serve” as president of the United States, neither of these two would come close to making the list. If sanity, competence and morals were the criteria, we’d be safer picking a random name from the Elizabeth Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane’s patient roster than choosing between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how one looks at it, we don’t have to worry about “qualifications” — because it’s impossible for anyone to be “qualified.”

If you don’t believe me, maybe you’ll believe Abraham Lincoln: “No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent.”

In 2020, only about 47% of Americans voted for president of the United States.

About 90 million weren’t allowed to vote. How can they have been said to have “consented” to be ruled by the winner?


Another 82 million chose not to vote. How can they be said to have “consented” to be ruled by the winner?

As for the 158.5 million Americans who DID vote, they hardly displayed unanimity. Can those who voted for Donald Trump, Jo Jorgensen, Howie Hawkins, et al. really be said to have “consented” to be ruled by Joe Biden?

Biden only knocked down 51.31% of votes actually cast … and because so many Americans chose not to vote or were forbidden to vote, fewer than one in four Americans could plausibly be said to have “consented” to his rule.

This time around, instead of arguing over which incompetent liar should rule us, let’s start thinking about how to do away with a system that allows anyone to rule us at all.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.